'We gave them three days of our lives,' says Margaret Dawson, pictured with her husband Joe, who contracted MRSA in 2004

RTE has come under fire for recording a documentary about a seriously ill man over three days before shelving it for unspecified legal concerns.

The couple at the centre of the film say they granted unlimited access to their lives in a desperate bid to publicise serious flaws in the hospital service.

But they said they feel the broadcaster could have been more forthcoming in its explanations as to why the programme will now not be shown.

A spokeswoman for RTE confirmed there were some legal concerns surrounding the programme but declined to give any specific detail.

Margaret Dawson, one of the principal founders of the support network MRSA and Families, says she is furious about being left in the dark after her husband Joe, who contracted MRSA in 2004, went to great physical and mental lengths to cooperate.

"I wouldn't be happy with that [explanation] at all, I really wouldn't," she said regarding the limited information she was given. "I believe they are fobbing us off. They should write to me from the legal department and tell me in good faith. We gave them three days of our lives."

The Dawsons are now both in their 60s. Margaret receives a carer's allowance while Joe is on disability benefit. Their ambitions for a retirement of relaxation and travelling have been usurped by a life of exhaustion and struggle.

Their frustration stems not only from the fact that they put a lot of time and effort into the filming of the programme, but from their inability to understand why nobody will tell them exactly why it can't air.

Dawson dismissed the possibility that there might be legal issues about other contributors to the programme, insisting the couple knew everybody involved.

"Anyone who took part in it I had asked and they had no problem at all," she said.

Joe Dawson was admitted to hospital to have steel plating inserted in his back. Because of his contracting the hospital bug, he has still not had them removed and his life is a week-by-week lottery as to whether or not he will have to go to hospital.

"At the time of the documentary Joe was very ill and he put a lot into it. There are days when he is very weak and in pain," said Dawson. "Once when they were filming him in the bedroom they had to stop and he had to get more painkillers. On another day he just didn't take part. He wasn't in good form and he had made a real effort."

Margaret pointed out that other documentaries about people living with other health conditions have been screened without any problem.